Pumpkin. (Photo by Marius Ciocirlan, via Unsplash)
With the fall pumpkin picking season in full sway in the northeastern United States, you might be wondering how to cook pumpkins or any type of squash this time of year. For a savory dish, try a kolokithopita with feta and for a sweet treat, pumpkin bread made with Greek olive oil.
Kolokithopita (Savory Pumpkin Pie)
3 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing phyllo sheets
1 pound fresh pumpkin, peeled and seeds removed
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup crumbled feta Dodoni
1 tablespoon fresh mint chopped
Greek sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
10-12 phyllo sheets
In a large skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat and cook the onion until translucent. Grate the pumpkin and add it to the skillet with the onion and sauté for 8-10 minutes over medium high heat, until the pumpkin softens and most of the liquid evaporates. Remove from heat and drain any excess liquid. Transfer the pumpkin mixture to a large bowl. Add the crumbled feta and chopped mint and mix well. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and add them to the mixture. Stir to combine well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13-inch rectangular or 9-inch round baking pan with olive oil. Begin layering 5-6 sheets of phyllo, brushing each with olive oil. If using a smaller pan, allow the phyllo sheets to overhang the edge.
Pour the filling in and spread evenly. Fold the overhanging phyllo over the pie. Top with the remaining 5-6 phyllo sheets, again brushing each sheet with olive oil. Tuck in the leftover phyllo to form the edges of the pie. Brush the top with olive oil and score the top phyllo layers to delineate the pieces and allow the steam to escape from the filling during baking. Bake the pie in the preheated oven for about 35-45 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
Pumpkin Bread with Olive Oil
3 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
A pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt
1 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
2/3 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two nine-inch loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the olive oil, eggs and sugar. Add the pumpkin and stir to combine. Then add the flour mixture and the water and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 60-70 minutes or until bread is firm and cooked through. A cake tester or skewer inserted in the center should come out clean. Cool the pumpkin bread on wire racks for 15 minutes before removing from the pans. Cool completely before slicing and serving.
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